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Tollway allegations

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006

The I-Team looks at alleged Tollway corruption.

For weeks we have been hearing about the so-called “clout lists” kept by governor Rod Blagojevich. Hundreds of names of his friends, contributors and cronies who were said to be given special consideration for state jobs.

The ABC7 I-Team sat down with some former state workers who say they were terminated from their tollway jobs to make room for the politically well endowed.

They were career state employees…on the job for up to 25 years… at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority…an agency that is supposed to operate independent of the governor and the state general assembly. But in a round robin discussion, they told the I-Team that their longevity, seniority and overall job performance meant nothing once Rod Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I was totally blindsided. I was at first in disbelief and in shock,” said Maria Besbekos.

Besbekos was fired after state officials told her the job she’d held for 15 and a half years was no longer necessary. “Safety inspections at various worksite locations, accident investigations of people that were injured on the job,” Besbekos said.

John Hegeler had been an engineer with the toll authority for 21 years when he was fired in 2003…having survived several new governors.

What makes you think this was politics? “From the day I started there, I could knock on the executive director’s door any time I wanted and talk to him about the smallest thing that I thought needed to be fixed. But when they started, it was all over,” Hegeler said.

This happened to you. Was your first thought, this is the governor at work? “Yes, I thought it was because I was shocked too,” said Jim Fragakis. Fragakis worked as an electrician with state toll authority for 25-years. He says his boss told him he was fired as part of a reform effort at the tollway authority. Fragakis contends that his termination may have had something to do with his refusal to give a $100-thousand dollar gift to a state vendor.

“There was a contractor that did some work and a political person called me and asked me to pay this contractor some extras, and I didn’t do it, and I think that had something to do with it,” Fragakis said.

Read the whole thing. And expect a lot more stories like this between now and election day. State workers always dish on their bosses during campaigns. But this particular boss is intensely unloved, so the dish will runneth over. [emphasis added]

UPDATE: I missed this op-ed by Abner Mikva in today’s Sun-Times. Mikva writes several paragraphs about the reforms implemented by the Blagojevich administration and then takes a whack at the media.

But you wouldn’t know it by reading or listening to the media. The emphasis there is on vague allegations that “some” employees have been hired improperly. There are “lists” of open positions that have gone through various persons in the governor’s office. But there are no specifics as to whether such positions are “exempt” or Rutan-covered, or evidence that people whose names may be on lists were actually treated differently than anyone else. Every administration has the right to fill certain positions with people they think will best help them implement their agenda. And for those positions where politics cannot be a factor in the selection of a candidate, there is no prohibition against anyone making recommendations for the jobs. There is, however, a very clear testing and interview process that must be used to select the best candidate. The newspaper stories over the past few weeks do not offer any evidence that those processes were violated.

In fact, most of the recent allegations seem to come from disgruntled ex-employees. No one has even checked as to whether the disgruntlement is about loss of the job or something fishy on the job. If there are credible charges of improper hiring, they should go to the inspector general, state law enforcement and the U.S. attorney’s office.

Vague allegations of improper employment practices tar and feather the whole state work force. We need state government workers who take pride in their reputations, in their work efforts, who get “psychic” income from their jobs, to make up for the gap between their pay scales and those of the private sector. We aren’t going to encourage those kinds of applicants if we don’t acknowledge reforms that are working and instead beat up on everybody who goes to work for the state of Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 7:16 am:

    Rich-

    When you refer to “this particular boss”, are you referring to the gov or to former tollway director Jack Hartman?


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 7:37 am:

    Blah-Blah’s cohort is absolutely assaulting career employees. From the first day, they really did not not want to hear from the older employees. Nothing they had to say mattered.

    Career employees are constantly being called corrupt and incompetent by not only Blah-Blah but by agency directors and staff as well. Career employees can handle the ‘trimming of benefits’(pensions and healthcare, yes, healthcare) the ‘asked to do more’ part.

    The insulting part that Blah-Blah’s hires are constantly whining about ‘taking a pay cut’ to come to work for the State. ‘Had to take a step down to get to your level.’ Sure. My guess is that very, very, very few of these idiots took a pay cut. Who in their right mind would take a pay cut to go to work at the sausage grinder called state government? And Blah-Blah and his goons say the career employees are incompetent?


  3. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 8:13 am:

    Getting and keeping the job means more to Blago than doing the job. Is there an iota of surprise left in any of us?


  4. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 8:23 am:

    Here we go again.

    Every day private sector employees, many with longevity and primo company loyalty are tossed out the door, many with minimal or no severance.
    Maybe there is a new CEO who wants to bring in his/her own people. Maybe somebody doesn’t like them. Maybe they are no longer as effective as they were. Maybe the company isn’t doing so well and cuts are needed. Whatever the reason, we may sigh, but we don’t disagree with the company’s rights to make these cuts.

    But state employees, whose total pay and benefits now equal or exceed comparable private sector employment except at the highest levels, continue to complain that their loyalty and hard work should protect them from the marketplace. In other words, they are still living in the last century, and back a few decades.

    Presumably, when they took these jobs, the now-complaining employees knew what the risks were.
    They had read the civil service regulations pertaining to layoffs (which offer huge protections to incumbents, by and large) and to four year terms. If the jobs were exempt, at will, they knew what that meant. Yes, it really means at will. A few state employees, far too few unfortunately, can actually be let go at any time for any reason.

    And let’s face it, most people think that their replacements aren’t as good as they are. It’s human nature. And if they were replaced by political hires, well, some political hiring is legal in Illinois. There has been no wave of voter protest to change that. If you are in a Rutan-exempt position, you took the the risk when you took the job.


  5. - Toll Weigh - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 8:31 am:

    Hmms sounds like someone forgot to call the IG/AG
    The G, etc.
    If the extra pay request why did mr. good worker not report it?


  6. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 10:24 am:

    These stories are writing themselves. Every campaign is a set of stories; challenger’s and incumbant’s. Blagojevich’s story is being read by voters that his way of doing business is not acceptable and he doesn’t deserve re-election.

    With each new story trickling out, the media is automatically buying it, and voters’ suspicions are being comfirmed when they appear.

    Blagojevich could have ran for election as just another pol. Instead he ran as a reformer and a guy above it all. So these problems are stories by his own making. They prove that he doesn’t know what he is doing, and doesn’t understand what he is saying.

    Then to top it off, he lies to all of us and claim what we are discovering is not his fault.

    Geez, when can we give this guy the boot?


  7. - Niles Township - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 10:28 am:

    Cheers to Cassandra for telling it like it is. While I have no doubt that GRod is fairly corrupt, this story sounds like a bunch of ex-employees not happy about reorganization and reduction in the number of state employees. The fact that they are all GOPers (as the Tollway was long the GOP hiring haven in the state) makes these allegations interesting, particularly the timing. Why now? Almost four years into an administration and in the midst of a general election? The state employees that post out here should spend a year in the private sector to understand what job secuirty means. In fact, government should not even hire people without private sector experience. It might help with this sense of entitlement, and who knows stop 19 year old unqualified inspectors from being hired.


  8. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 10:45 am:

    Hmmm. Tollway criticized as one of the worst run state organizations a few years ago. New governor comes in and fires all the old republicans paid to run the worst run state organization. Tollway praised as an innovative organization. Services improved. Commutes improve. Seems to me that things are better than ever at the tollway. Sure, not perfect, but better than ever.


  9. - Seen both sides - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    Maybe we should try the Cassandra way and let politics dictate who serves in state government. If she wants government executed by political hacks, then let’s give it a go.


  10. - B Hicks - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 12:10 pm:

    I think it’s safe to assume that these poor, poor, state workers were hired based on their politicks, so why shouldn’t they be fired based on their politicks.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.


  11. - PalosParkBob - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 12:12 pm:

    FYI-Jack Hartman, former honcho at the CHA and Tollway authority, is now President of a capital project management outfit called the RISE GROUP.

    Very politically connected, but they do a pretty good job compared to some of the other patronage havens, and Hartman seems genuinely interested in improving quality and efficiency of governmental capital project organizations (within political bounds, of course).

    He got rid of a lot of lollygaggers and patronage employees from the Republicans, and it seemed like the people he brought in, including consultants and contractors, were generally pretty competent.

    Don’t ask me how I know!


  12. - can't imagine - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 12:51 pm:

    There seems to be a much bigger story here. Why did Scott Okun, director of I PASS get let go? Here is a good guy who was totally committed to the Tollway and the GOV. I believe he was a campaign organizor in the burbs for Blago. Do you really think that he would make a decision like that on his own? He was an absolute play by the book guy. You must wonder who did he take the fall for? Jack Hartman left a couple weeks before this he obviously is not a big enough fish for Okun to take a hit for. Besides Scott was looking to take Hartman’s place.


  13. - insider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:09 pm:

    Pardon me, but are we all talking about the Illinois Tollway?
    I would like to see the studies “praising the Illinois tollway as an innovative organization” that weren’t paid for by the tollway.
    In their zeal to open up a couple more Open Road tollbooths with big Blago signs before the election, the tollway geniuses have created terrible traffic tieups and a couple absolute safety hazards on the TriState, to name just one.
    And, PeePeeBob, you are once again revealing yourself to be a guy in search of a clue. Would you count among Hartman’s “generally pretty competent” cadre the fellow who bailed out after slipping his relatives a no-bid printing contract?
    Well, I suppose, since 80% of the tollway contractors were found to have donated to Blago’s bloated campaign till, that’s another way of defining “generally pretty competent” for this group.” Especially that $50k donor from California that did such a fabulous job of selecting the fast-food joints for the oases.
    Amazing.


  14. - Seen both sides - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:15 pm:

    I’m trying to follow the logic of Cassandra, Niles Township, and B Hicks, so if I mis-state, please correct me.

    In the private sector, if I’m a republican in a company that’s owned and managed by a democratic, that’s sufficient reason to fire and replace me? How about if I’m Jewish and the owners are Catholic? Am I understanding that political affiliation can and should be used in employment decisions in the private sector?

    I’m just trying to understand how voting in a primary election or working on a political campaign is a determinant of my ability to do a non-political job? If I’m applying for a private sector job, should I include my party affiliation on my resume? To read Cassandra’s comments, the concept of employment “at will” should be equivalent to “based upon political beliefs”. That’s a nice system if you need to recruit a political army - as we’re hearing in the Sorich patronage trial.


  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:25 pm:

    Are we forgetting about all those federal subpoenas for the tollway oases contracts?


  16. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:37 pm:

    I believe every word that these employees are alleging. Instead of Rod Blagojevich listening to the people, who are saying that his administration is violating laws, they lie and call these employees disgruntle. A disgruntle employee would not waste his or her time to come forward with falsity and then tell it to the news.

    Rod Blagojevich needs to do a major housecleaning and it should have happened already, however, he is too intertwined with his staff to realize that they are his problem, and the employees speaking out are only assisting him in seeing what he is really dealing with.

    Until he opens his eyes and come from out of la la land, more is going to evolve. What he should do is seek to resolve all of these lawsuits hanging over his administration and re-hire these employees in different capacities instead of wasting tax dollars on outside lawfirm to defend his administrations improprieties.


  17. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:40 pm:

    Anonymous, insider, can’t imagine and your ilk. Are you all the same person? If so or if not, you’re misinformed. For me, driving on the tollway used to suck. Now it’s not too bad, and it keeps getting better. That’s concrete improvement, something I never saw under a republican here in Illinois.

    Sure, Rod is a ham and cheese sandwich who seems to care too much about his image and about getting reelected, but he’s not a disgusting corrupt politician like we had for years prior to his election.

    Traffic tie-ups on the Tristate? Jeeze, insider, you’re just an idiot. That’s called construction.


  18. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:47 pm:

    One Man Can Make a Difference, perhaps the employees were fired for poor grammar skills…

    Anonymous, I read that those oasis contracts were awarded before Rod took office, and that the new ones are under the control of the company that managed the construction. Wilton Partners of Los Angeles has a 25 year lease on the buildings and they manage the tenants - that deal was inked with Ryan. I just got that by using Google.


  19. - PalosParkBob - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 1:49 pm:

    Insider-Get a grip on something other than your “PeePeeBob”! Were there “accommodations” made for political cronies of the Guv? More than likely. If you can find ANY governmental organization that doesn’t operate that way, from suburban school districts to Hizzoners 5th floor office, that would be a real scoop.

    The difference between chiefs like Hartman and other payrollers is that they actually feel an obligation to get things done and TRY to run an office as cleanly as they can despite political intereference.

    Insider, maybe you’re one of those government hacks that figures the department is there to provide you with a fat paycheck and a fatter pension. You’d be amazed to know that there are a lot of “insiders” who actually serve the public because they want to do some good while making a fair buck.I think Hartman fit into that category.

    It seems you would you need to get a “clue” about those put upon souls, because they’re the only ones who keep the streets safe and the trains running on time while payrollers are doing what they do best…. steal elections.


  20. - Niles Township - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 2:02 pm:

    Seen both sides:

    While you certainly don’t pick up on my main point in your comments, you should know that employment-at-will means just that. Unless that termination decision or other employment action is based on a protected class like race, religion etc., then you can be fired for almost anything, including if you boss doesn’t like your haircut or heard that you voted one way or another. None of that qualifies for a protected class, and therefore is not illegal. So while we may not like it, in the real world, change happens. Government is much slower at eveything than the real world, but it will eventually catch up. I know its hard, but private sector folks went though this decades ago. By the way, you should note that I do think Blago is corrupt. This just is not where the meat is to be found. Way I see it, Blago wins, and by the end of his 1st year in office, he’ll be indicted, and we’ll have Gov. Quinn! Never thought that would happen!!


  21. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 2:31 pm:

    Thank goodness for Abner Mikva. Someone out there taking a fair approach to this situation. Chuck Goudie could learn a thing or two from that piece.


  22. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 2:39 pm:

    Outsider, why are your comments so negative towards other people. State your opinion, respond to others, but this blog is not meant for you to take the time to down play other commenters comments.

    My advises is that you stick to the issues at hand and comment on the postings, unless that all you know how to do. In that case, IT IS WHAT IT IS.


  23. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 2:51 pm:

    “My advises…?” You’re worse than President Bush. Maybe you should come out into the open and run for office. You probably could have been the Republican nominee if you had run. Then all of our problems would be over.


  24. - DOWNSTATE - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 3:34 pm:

    Didn’t another employee who filed suit win a big settlement maybe there is something to all of this.


  25. - Seen both sides - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 3:51 pm:

    If I can be fired at will for disagreeing with someone’s politics, that’s a pretty strong incentive to allign my politics with whoever’s in charge. For employees who evaluate and make everyday policy decisions that have contract implications? Easy for the employee - determine who’s being represented by former fundraisers turned lobbyists and that’s how policy is formed. Employment decisions? Have Joe Cini research your campaign resume and talk to your political benefactor. Need campaign workers to walk neighborhoods, man phonebanks, write favorable letters to the editor? No worries - you’ve got a built-in ground organization.

    Seriously, civil service laws, the Shakman Decree, ethics provisions, veterans preference all serve a purpose. I’m not necessarily saying there’s merit to these employees’ lawsuit allegation, but they’re entitled to employment rights under the law, and these laws exist for a reason.

    I also acknowledge that civil service can over-protect some employees. Sometimes we take the bad with the good. If these employees were terminated for the sake of downsizing, then that’s unfortunate for them, but life’s sometimes not fair.


  26. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 4:05 pm:

    I didn’t say all hires should be political.

    I said that the people who lost their jobs may not have been entitled to lifetime job security under the civil service regulations. If so, they must have known this, or should have. State employment is not an entitlement, although it comes close for many union and civil service employees.

    And the state is entitled to a certain number of Rutan-exempt positions. Politicals can be hired into these. It’s legal and there has been no indication that voters wish to change this, probably because the number is a small fraction of the overall state work force.


  27. - Tollway Insider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 4:10 pm:

    If media continues to pursue interviewing both long time State of Illinois employees and the ones who were illegally terminated you’ll find there is a common denominator within their stories. Which is that the Blagojevich administration and current Illinois Tollway administration is an arrogant, deceptive and condescending group of bitter individuals who are hell bent on political retribution.
    As you can see from the ABC / Channel 7 -I-Team investigational story the administration has their spun their story as if they were poor -disgruntled employees. I’m sure they didn’t become disgruntled until after they were illegally terminated.
    Smokin’ Mirrors is high on Governor Blagojevich’s agenda and they’re the ones who should be ferreted out.
    If the Blagojevich’s administration are in the right, why have they fought so long and hard to hide evidence pertinent to the pending cases ?
    If this political climate is allowed to prevail in our state - We All Lose !

    By the way, what ever happened Jack Hartman and Scott Okun for their crooked deeds ?


  28. - Tollway Insider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 4:26 pm:

    Yes, they illegally terminated 50 positions held at the Illinois Tollway but added well over 125 of the politcally connected.
    Do the math…. I’m sure they saved the motoring public a considerable amount of money - NOT !


  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 4:30 pm:

    The tollway subpoenas concern the food contracts which were handed out by Tony and Chris AFTER Wilton Partners gave Rod a 50K contribution. I’m sure the feds are particularly interested in how convicted felon Eddie DeBartolo Jr. got a contract.


  30. - Seen both sides - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 4:48 pm:

    Cassandra,
    I agree that employment is not an entitlement, and if they were Rutan-exempt, then they were simply victims of the Governor’s puffery. But conversely, most government employees are rightfully covered under civil service protections against politically motivated sanctions.

    For the record, I work in the private sector and I’ve never been asked on any of my projects to disclose how I voted in the last primary nor on which campaigns I worked for.


  31. - outsider - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 5:29 pm:

    [comment deleted - OK, that’s enough of that]


  32. - angry and outraged - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 6:32 pm:

    First to “Toll Weigh” mr good worker did go through the proper channels about the $100,00.00 that is why he was fired and I know that for a fact! Second to Cassandra you keep throwing out allegations that state employees are overpaid do you know what a FOIA(Freedom of Information Act) is because I think you need to do one and quit listening to propoganda, the bulk of state employees are not overpaid and have you ever worked at a state agency to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are lazy? The fact is these people and others were illegally let go. They were not RUTAN exempt! They were let go under the guise that their jobs were eliminated HUH! This administration never attempted to find out what anyone did from the first minute they stepped into that building! They are just City of Chicago thugs that were brought in by Blago to get rid of people because of course you know we are all Republicans???? and to bring their worseless hacks in! Oh they claimed they cut the fat at the Authority well “Tollway Insider” is right it was just a dog and pony show for the press they brought in alot more employees from their list than the main Authority Building has ever had-no fat was cut! Oh wait “Toll Weigh” on the, IG, that puppet position was not in place at the time these folks were let go! I worked (yes Cassandra-worked) with all five of these people and they were hard working folks that did not on any level deserve this and are not whining as some of you are accussing them of. Many faced their fate and those that did not had huge amounts of money taken away from them with the sole purpose to drive them out figuring they could not afford to stay. They pulled one of out a Disney Motivational Training Class to tell him his job(that they had no idea of what he did) was eliminated-so went the motivational class! Last, Cassandra, I worked for 18 years in the (what I like to call) the real world so I know that the private sector does not work on things at this level. This was political blood shed to scare people into quitting, but if you have a family, you have the years and you need the benefits it is not an easy thing to walk away. Oh by the way I go my job at the Tollway by filling out an application-no politicl affiliation “Cassandra and “Niles Township”!!!!!


  33. - Amused - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 7:20 pm:

    Boy, Mikva has lost it! Defending Blago and his corruption? Wow! Whatever happened to the do-gooder lib known as the embodiment of good government?


  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 7:47 pm:

    Angry and outraged,

    The hard work and important contribution to the taxpayers that this guy did was teaching Disney motivational training classes? Were Mickey and Donald working there, too?

    If his co-workers were such excellent, hard workers, why did they need motivational training?

    Cassandra is looking more and more correct.


  35. - roy slade - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 10:31 pm:

    Oh- I get it. Training is bad…unless its for ethics (California campaign donor provided). Now, for the record, due to layoffs and unfilled positions, we no longer have time for training. I do remember training- the type that actually make us better employees, reinforcing skills that we already have, or helping us deal with the public. But now, we just work mandated overtime shifts- and watch our request for time off to spend with our families get denied, all the while, our “bosses” work five hour days and talk politics at work.


  36. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Jun 13, 06 @ 11:42 pm:

    Wow. Lately when I read comments by a few of the posters on this site my head hurts and my IQ drops a few points. Where are these people comming from? First Cassandra shows up and repeats the same ignorant message every day. At least she has been framing it a bit different lately. All I have to say to her is unless you know what you are talking about, SHUT UP ALREADY! Now we have Mikva tossing his mouth into the ring with senile ramblings about how ex-employees are trying to tar and feather Honest Rod. Abner, go find Gladys.

    Rich, I am sorry to go negative, but these Blago plants (pun intended) are ruining this site. They have made it very difficult to have a meaningful debate here anymore. It is frustrating that a few have messed up the opportunity for persons who wish to have intellegent political discourse.

    Cassandra. To follow up on “Seen both sides - @ 1:15 pm:” I have seen both sides also. These people installed by Blago and his minions are pathetic. They tried to run me off because they thought I was a “Republican”. I had voted republican in order to vote for my father who held a township position, so I voted republican in the primaries. He didn’t help get me a job with the state either. His “clout” was so powerful he couldn’t even get a cup of water from the County Board Chair. One more thing Cassandra. I seem to remember three ex-state employees (it might not be Illinois, or it was DNR, I’m not sure) who sued because they were wrongly fired. They won. They won because they were found to be victims of Political Discrimination. It’s only a matter of time Blago and his Brown Shirts.


  37. - Criminal Enterprise Called Illinois - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 2:28 am:

    I also am surprised at and disappointed in Abner Mikva. What a surprise coming from a person I formally admired. Perhaps he is covering his hide, since he was part of the transition team. Being proactive before he is questioned, perhaps? Look what has happened to Mary Lee Leahy. She has been muzzled and is giving a deposition. Seems there is something quite amiss here. Mary Lee and Abner go back decades and are colleagues and friends. I hope they come clean as to the true story inside Blago’s hiring/firing shenanigans. It is disappointing that he, in effect, is campaigning for Rod. I thought more of hs integriry. Strange times.


  38. - Tessa - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 5:15 am:

    High five Roy Slade. If they took the money they paid out in overtime and used it for staff, that would help. Management comes in and leaves while the same staff stay day after day. Getting ready now to head in for my fourth day of OT. Something is wrong.

    Oh, and I have worked private sector. Same field. The politics on that side are just as amazing and screwed up.


  39. - Helter Skelter - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 10:15 am:

    Blago’s Motto

    No Experience = Big Pay Checks for Blago’s Minions

    Just investigate the records before they destroy them !


  40. - KenoMan - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 4:46 pm:

    How about the fact that the Tollway has spent over $132,000 on OUTSIDE legal counsel defending these cases………..they’ve got seven staff attorneys, but needed to hire “outside” help.
    And of course, a partner in the firm they hired served on Blago’s transition team…..remember that the next time you are paying your toll….


  41. - Another One Bites The Dust - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 4:48 pm:

    Ralph Dwyer (HNTB) Deputy Project Manager of I-355 / (North / South Tollway Extension Project and I-294 / Tri- State Tollway Widening Project) has pulled the plug and is leaving June 20, 2006.
    Fed up with Blagojevich administration politics and the current Illinois Tollway Administration ?


  42. - Disgusted - Wednesday, Jun 14, 06 @ 11:05 pm:

    Roy Slade: There is time for training. The HFS Training Program is running “New Employee Orientation” every month, with a full house each time. Doesn’t the state have a hiring freeze on?

    Hmmmmm! “Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice.


  43. - The Laughing Detective - Thursday, Jun 15, 06 @ 10:42 am:

    Milorad (Mr. Testicular Verility)

    The Illinois Tollway Jihad is alive, well and above all flourishing.

    Thank you for cleaning up Illinois !


  44. - Tired of Living In Fear - Thursday, Jun 15, 06 @ 12:11 pm:

    Gulag best describes the atmosphere which exists here at the Illinois Tollway’s Central Administration Headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois.


  45. - Just The Beginning ! - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    Oh Where, Oh Where, Can Attorney General Lisa Madigan Be ?
    So many investigations ?
    But No Lisa Madigan !
    Wonder if Central Management Services (CMS) has had any requests for shredders lately ?


  46. - Wilson the Volleyball - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 10:08 am:

    What’s that paperhanger Brian McPartlin doing about all this ?


  47. - I.D.O.T. District 3 - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 10:42 am:

    States agencies were not cesspools until after Blagojevich and his Storm Troopers took over. Actually, they were very good places to work and have a rewarding career.
    - Not Anymore !


  48. - Kankakee - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 10:57 am:

    Hello, Abner your sticking your head in the sand ! It’s time you give your party an enema.
    Abner you’re a dinosaur, time for you to go back to sleep.


  49. - Another Red Flag - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 11:34 am:

    The employees at the Illinois Tollway recently organized and joined the union identified below.
    Usually employees don’t organized and join unions unless they are being treated unfairly. Hmmm ?

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Council 31 — which often works with the AFL-CIO — voted against supporting Blagojevich during an endorsement meeting involving unions statewide on Tuesday.
    “Many of our members have become disenchanted with the governor’s lack of commitment to strong public service,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said.
    AFSCME has been in a high-profile battle with the governor over staff cuts it contends are crippling state government agenices.


  50. - Go figure - Friday, Jun 16, 06 @ 12:22 pm:

    State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg where is all this watchful care you were going to provide to the Illinois Tollway ?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
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* *** UPDATED x3 - Pritzker, Biss, Kennedy respond *** Rauner campaign echoes Blagojevich demand to release the FBI tapes
* Jimenez wants Sangamon County to get priority for most new state jobs
* Ives' state budget solution: Slash CPS funding and repeal Obamacare expansion
* *** UPDATED x1 - Ives responds *** Rauner promises to patch $2.3 billion hole, balance next year's budget, start rolling back the tax hike and provide "record funding" for K-12
* Dick Uihlein gives Proft group another $3 million
* Legionella bacteria might have been found at Capitol Complex
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Unclear on the concept
* Yesterday's stories

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* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
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* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st televised forum
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* Sangamon County should get first dibs on state jobs, lawmaker says
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